Public Lecture –
“Elizabeth Shaw: An unknown Irish writer behind an East German children’s classic”,
Sabine Egger (MIC), 23 Feb 2023 @ 6pm in the Tara Building, MIC (Room T118)

The Faculty of Arts at MIC celebrates 30 years of its landmark BA Liberal Arts this year. In celebration a series of public lectures will take place from January to March showcasing some of the excellent academics who form part of the Faculty and the various subjects which fascinate them.

On 23 February 2023, Dr Sabine Egger of MIC will give a lecture entitled

Elizabeth Shaw:

An unknown Irish writer behind an East German children’s classic

Elizabeth Shaw was an Irish artist and illustrator with an extraordinary 20th century life story. Born in Belfast in 1920, Shaw spent most of her adult life living in communist East Berlin. She worked as a caricaturist for Neues Deutschland, the newspaper of the ruling Socialist Unity Party. However, Shaw is best known as an author of books for children. Generations of German children, also outside the GDR, have read the picture books she wrote and illustrated, which remain in print to this day. But in Ireland, Elizabeth Shaw has remained largely unknown.

What made Shaw’s work such a success, including its ongoing popularity in today’s Germany? How are her work, private and political life interlinked? How has this influenced her perception through media in Ireland and abroad? What role does her Irish background play in all of this? And, last but not least, what answers can be found in Shaw’s autobiography Irish Berlin, published in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in her recently found Stasi secret police file?

Drawing on her research, and on previously unpublished Stasi archive material found by her colleague, Dr Fergal Lenehan of the University of Jena, Dr Egger’s talk will open new insights into the fascinating life and work of a woman the Irish historian Damian Mac Con Uladh called the “GDR’s most prominent resident from Northern Ireland” – and the recent interest of Irish and British mainstream media in her.

For more information on the lecture series and a link to register for the lecture please click here.